The islet of Chryssi (“the golden island” in greek), as its official name is or Gaidouronissi (“the island of the donkeys”) as it is most commonly called, is found at a distance of 8 nautical miles southern to Ierapetra, within the Libyan Sea. The island is not inhabited, but it has magnificent beaches and a long history. The island is almost flat; the highest point is some 31 meters (the site of “Kefala”). It is 5 kilometers long and 1 kilometer wide.
You may divide the 4-6 hours you will spend on the island, both in swimming in a marvelous sea at the small sandy beaches and in visiting the most interest places of the islet.
It is worth going to the large cedar-tree wood, with more than 5.000 perennial trees; or you may choose to go to the beach of Belegrina at the northern part of the island, where apart from swimming you will have the chance to see the fossilized sea shells, that are dated to thousands of years ago. At the western part of the island, the visitor can see the small church of Aghios Nicolaos , of the 13 th century, pick salt from the old salt-pans, see the Roman carved graves, the ancient breakwater and the old lighthouse.
Some hundreds of meters eastern to Chryssi, it is situated a tiny islet, of an extent of some more than 10 hectares, called Mikronissi (“the tiny island” in Greek); it is a rocky island, a refuge of thousands of seagulls.
As it has special ecological features and spots of environmental interest, Chryssi is has been included in the European Program for the Protection of places of natural beauty and importance (NATURA 2000).
Access to the island is possible from Ierapetra by excursion boats. The boats depart from the port of Ierapetra daily at 10.30 am and 12.30 p.m. and return from Chryssi at 17.00 and 18.00 in the afternoon. The trip lasts approximately one hour. The boats are available only in summer from May to October.